Friday, April 20, 2012

Ghosts of the Past's Late Night Visit

I was a bit sad last night, and was sitting on my bed trying to find a way to entertain myself in my semi-messy room among the clutter of things being put here and there. Believe me no matter how many times in a day I clean this room later at night mysteriously turn into a mess. As if an invisible bomb has been exploded in it. The Internet at home was cut off and I felt there's no more reason to live and breathe. A vague white light from the florescent lamp from the ceiling made the scene more sombre. I didn't like to open that file on my desktop called music. There is a funny mixture of tracks in it, with Queen sitting beside Shahin Najafi, and Rana Farhan holding hands with each other, and some tracks of John Mayer sitting there alone. I have listened to all of them many times and needed something new. I aimlessly opened a file called "ebooks". And opened a PDF called The Mad House.

It was a long story by Mohmmad Ali Jamalzadeh, father of modern short stories in Iran. I started reading. The pages were poorly scanned from an old book which was actually published 58 years ago in Tehran, by publication I'm sure now doesn't exist. I started to read and quickly scrolled down the pages to see what's the whole story about. I was thrown in Iran 100 years ago. Big houses, Iranian gardens in large yards, fountains and basins, people moving from here to there with carriage, and women wearing chador at home in front of men out of their family. That era when Iran started to open its cultural borders to the West. I was absorbed by the story. It was the story of a young man who had studied medicine and was working in a madhouse.

In one of the pages of the author mentions a man who was so sad that he went to the herbal shop, bought a big roll of opium, ate it all at night and next morning they found him dead. Suddenly I remembered one of my father's friends. He lost his family, including his wife and his son in an earthquake in North of Iran in Roodbar. After that loss he felt he couldn't deal with that life anymore, so one night he ate opium and ended his life. His death was unexpectedly. I saw one of his photos in my father's album, with him sitting on a rooftop of their house, with my father and their other friends, and pigeons pecking the floor beside their feet.

Then I remembered another person... my father's uncle. Many many many years ago he moved from his city and went to the north. There he bought a big land in the north west of Iran. His field was near the Torkman's field. Many times Torkaman horses went to his field and ate his crops and ruined the grass. He noted this and told it to those people to take care and don't leave the horses, but they didn't listen. One day he got angry and went to talk to them seriously. They replied to him by a shovel. They hit the shovel on his head. Due to that injury my father's uncle lost his speech ability. He couldn't talk very well and couldn't remember things. One day his family took him again to his house, to his land to make him remember everything. He remembered, but got home, and later at night ended his life like my father's friend. By eating opium. Went to an eternal sleep and never woke up.

Someone else came to my mind... one of my relatives first and last husband, first and last love. Someone who made and destroyed that girl's life. He was an educated man, full of emotions, had read many books, knew many poems, was kind, caring and good-looking. But he had a weak point: addiction. When he was young he was sent to Zahedan, a city in South East Iran in Baluchestan province for his military service. There he got the addiction to opium. To cut a long story short, when the girl realises his addiction, with all that love she saw no other choice but to get a divorce. Getting a divorce in Iran 43 years ago was a daring act. Not as common as it is nowadays. She never got married and to this lives the memories of that love. He got married short after the divorce, had 2 children, but finally drugs took his life.

Among the memories of all these people, Sadegh Hedayat came to my mind either. His sad lonely life. His books and stories full of sadness. Actually he didn't ended his life by eating opium, but by gas. Opened the gas faucet and lay in his bed till the Death knocks at his door. There eventually a photo of him moments after they found his dead body. In the book I was reading in some lines there were references to his book The Blind Owl. One of the darkest books I ever read. Just the first page is enough to make me feel things around are turning grey and cold.

Before I start remembering anyone else I fell asleep.
I think I shouldn't get sad too often.

Here a picture of a bookshop in Tehran. One of the paper on the display says:
"Based on your income there are books in here. If you don't have enough money, you can borrow books"
This interesting bookshop is in Navvab Highway, passed Jomhoori Square.

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